from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Contracting the tissues or blood vessels; astringent.
  • adj. Tending to check bleeding by contracting the tissues or blood vessels; hemostatic.
  • n. A styptic drug or substance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Bringing about contraction of tissues, especially to stop bleeding
  • n. A substance used for styptic results.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Producing contraction; stopping bleeding; having the quality of restraining hemorrhage when applied to the bleeding part; astringent.
  • n. A styptic medicine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Astringent; oonstrictive; binding.
  • Having the quality of checking hemorrhage or bleeding; stanching.
  • n. An astringent; something causing constriction or constraint.
  • n. A substance employed to check a flow of blood by application to the bleeding orifice or surface.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a drug that causes contraction of body tissues and canals
  • adj. tending to check bleeding by contracting the tissues or blood vessels


Middle English stiptik, from Old French stiptique, from Latin stȳpticus, from Greek stūptikos, from stūphein, to contract.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin stypticus, from Ancient Greek στυπτικός (stuptikos), from στύφειν (stuphein, "to contract"). (Wiktionary)


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  • Yep. Similar to what people do for pet birds.

    October 22, 2008

  • We kept styptic powder on hand for the (fortunately rare) occasions when we trimmed our guinea pigs' nails. (If you cut a little too far, it nicks the blood vessel inside the nail.)

    October 22, 2008

  • To be sure, I shall break a vessel: there's no doubt of that; and a bottle of Eaton's styptic shall be sent for; but no doctor.

    Lovelace to Belford, Clarissa by Samuel Richardson

    December 15, 2007

  • I think styptic pencils are made of anhydrous aluminum sulfate, which causes blood vessel constriction where you apply it. The ones I remember looked like small pieces of chalk. :-)

    June 22, 2007

  • I have read about these, but always wondered how they worked.

    June 22, 2007

  • It sounds cool, I probably wouldn't ever be able to use it, but it has a nice ring to it.

    June 22, 2007

  • I know, this word is cool - it's like a cross between cryptic and stygian.

    June 21, 2007

  • lovely word which surfaces occassionally in my brain--when I was a child, my father used a styptic pencil when he cut himself shaving. Haven't heard much talk of styptic pencils lately. . .

    June 15, 2007